Back to school for the Dragonflies😊😊

Our Dragonflies came back to school full of energy and ready to learn, discover and investigate lots of new things.

Here we are settling back into routines, exploring our favourite toys and enjoying the special relationship we have with our adults and friends.

One of our favourite times of the day is Attention Autism or bucket time. We are all showing increased levels of focus and concentration at this time. Some of us are even showing anticipation and excitement at the exciting things that might come out of the bucket or the activity that the lead adult is presenting. This is brilliant as it demonstrates that our children are retaining the learning that they have previously experienced during this activity.

We had a belated pancake day where we made a choice between three toppings and tried hard to use a knife to spread with.

We are making great progress with the use of ALD boards (aided language displays) to help us express our choices. After an ‘ice cream splat’ bucket time activity Julia helped us to make our own ice cream cones using cream and sprinkles. We were supported to use the ALD board to ask for ‘more’ cream and sprinkles. We all enjoyed this activity.

We are continuing to explore different moves and different equipment in gymnastics. We are growing in confidence and enjoying using our bodies to move in different ways.

We finished the week with ‘Sensory Train’. This is definitely one of our favourites times of the week as we visit Bubble Land, Water Land, Material Land and Foamy Land. Foamy Land is our favourite and we all join in to sing The Wheels on the Bus and make patterns in the foam.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to go to Forest School 🌲🌿this week but fingers crossed for next week. This will take place on Tuesday morning so please send in wellies, waterproofs or spare clothes and warm things if the weather is cold.

Well done on a lovely week Dragonflies,

Julia, Jo, Gemma, Jodie, Cath and Megan 😊😊

Chinese New Year Celebrations 🧧

On Saturday 10th February it is Chinese Lunar New Year. To celebrate this we have had a very creative week in Dragonflies exploring the sights, sounds, colours and music of China.

Chinese New Year celebrations are full of colour and sparkle and our activities have reflected this. We had to find the animals from the Chinese New Year story hidden in the colourful pom poms, we explored different red materials and textures and we used bright colours to mark make on pictures of the new year story animals. We all had a special red envelope with a treat inside and in attention autism we explored fireworks, firecrackers and magic rainbow rice.

We’ve listened to lots of Chinese new year music and joined in by shaking our colourful pom poms and musical bells. On Wednesday we had a visit from a Chinese dragon. The children of Rushall early years paraded their dragon for us all to see.

We have been very creative making lots of Chinese new year artwork. The children are all improving their ability to focus on an adult led activity and follow visual instructions. They were all able to watch the adults and then use the different tools to create their individual pieces of art. They also made choices between tools, paint colours and collage materials. We have made Chinese dragon masks, red and gold fans and Chinese lanterns.

We enjoyed exploring the tastes and textures of some traditional Chinese foods including noodles in chow mein sauce and rice in hoisin sauce. It was delicious!

Our sensory exploration continued during our ‘sensory train’ session where we visited ‘Jelly Land’. The vegan jelly was red to continue the Chinese new year colour theme. The Dragonflies with a sweet tooth especially enjoyed this activity!

During this busy week we continued with our ‘Penguins and Polar Bears’ topic. Cath has been busy at home preparing us another blancmange iceberg along with a cake iceberg! We enjoyed pushing the arctic animals into the cake and then peeling back the ice to see what was underneath!

We even had time to make a very special Valentine heart for our loved ones.

It’s been a very short half term but we have filled it with lots of wonderful learning experiences. We are so proud of the way the children are growing up and changing in their own ways.

Next half term we will be going to visit Forest School. This will be on a Tuesday morning so please could you pack some wellies and warm clothes for our forest adventure.

Thank you families for your continued support. Have a very happy week with your beautiful children.

Julia, Jo, Jodie, Gemma, Cath and Gemma 😊😊

Sensory fun in Dragonflies!😊😊

We’ve had another very happy week in Dragonflies class. During PSHE time we’ve been exploring different parts of our body. We have been looking at photographs of our faces and learning about our different features. We have also been using our hands to clap and our fingers to point, count and make choices with on our ALD boards. We’ve been exploring lots of different sensory materials using our hands and our feet! Gemma did a brilliant Attention Autism session using crocs and shaving foam. The children showed lots of smiles and anticipation as they waited for the foam to pop out of the shoes!

We then explored different materials with our feet. The shaving foam and cornflakes combination was certainly not our favourite but it made a good sound! The flour felt nice and soft however, and we made some good footprints. We also enjoyed exploring sensory snow. It was crumbly and soft but at first but when we added water it became wobbly and firm.

We are continuing to enjoy our topic ‘Penguins and Polar Bears’ with lots of icy investigating. We did some painting with frozen paint blocks and Julia did one of our favourite attention autism sessions ‘ice smash’! We practised our fine motor skills to make a polar bear fork face. We used forks to spread out the paint before putting on the polarbear’s facial features.

In gymnastics we have been using our bodies to jump, step, climb and balance on different gymnastics equipment.

We went swimming this week which we all love. Some of us like exploring the different water toys and floats whilst others like to explore the water in a quieter way.

During cooking we explored how bread turns into toast and we practised our fine motor skills again as we tried hard to spread margarine and jam onto it. Most of us had a little try of the toast. Some of us could have eaten a plate full!

In music time Bev introduced us to sights and sounds of Chinese New Year. We all loved the long, wiggly dragon and the soft, flowing material. We watched a Chinese dragon dance and then explored some metal instruments. The gong made a very long sound and the chime bars all played a different note. Bev asked us all whether we wanted the music to be loud or quiet. Most of us chose loud!

We have been busy with lots of other activities and experiences throughout the week. We are continuing to respond very well to our classroom routines and to use ALD boards to make choices about different things.

Well done on another wonderful week Dragonflies. You continue to make us very proud. Thank you families for your continued support. Next week we will continue to learn about the colours, music, food and sights of Chinese New Year.

Julia, Cath, Jo, Jodie, Megan and Gemma 😊

Confidence and independence in Dragonflies class

We are so proud of the progress and development that our wonderful children are making. Once again we have had lots of wow moments this week where our little dragonflies have surprised us with their confidence, their growing communication skills, their independence and their care and concern for their peers.

We have all been keen to try new experiences and activities and are finding our favourite things to do which we look for and return to.

We have enjoyed some sensory fun this week. Even those Dragonflies who are wary of messy play had a little poke at our icy arctic animals and our blancmange iceberg (which didn’t stay very icebergy for long)!

We climbed aboard the sensory train again and took a journey to Bubble Land, Water Land, Material Land and Foam Land. Sensory train is a wonderful way of developing our children’s communication skills and life skills as we have to listen to the music and look at the symbols to know when it is time to get on and off the train. It’s also brilliant fun for all of us and the chance to see lots of smiles and giggles.

We are really enjoying the book ‘That’s not my polar bear’ and concentrated so well to explore the different textures and materials in the story. I think the bubble wrap was everyone’s favourite although lots of us enjoyed the roughness of the sandpaper.

In our cooking/life skills session this week we watched carefully as Julia made a cup of squash. We then had to make choices between orange or blackcurrant squash, pour out the squash and add the water and finally hold our cup and drink the squash. We all had a really good try. Jo got a bit wet but she said it was worth it to see the children so engaged and interested in this independent skill.

We have been developing our creative skills by making some lovely artwork for our display boards. We made some polar bear handprints for our ‘Polar Bears and Penguins’ board which look very cute. As part of our ‘This is Me’ PSHE topic we have been exploring different parts of our bodies. We used our mark making skills to chalk a little skeleton and we used collage and paint to make clothes for a big model of the human body.

We had another great p.e. lesson where we explored different gymnastics equipment such as the benches, the steps and the ladders. We are growing in confidence and watching carefully as the adults show us how to move along the equipment.

Well done to our Dragonflies for another happy week. We hope to go swimming next week so please send in swimming kits on Tuesday. Please look out for a letter about the school library. We will be organising time in our busy timetable to visit the library and choose a book.

Have a very happy weekend everyone,

Julia, Gemma, Jodie, Jo, Megan and Cath 😊😊

A happy week in Dragonflies 😊

What a chilly week for us all! It’s very fitting that we have been continuing to explore our ‘Polar Bears and Penguins’ topic! We are enjoying the book Polar, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? We have been exploring the different animals in the book; the sounds they make and the Makaton signs for each of them.

During our cooking session we decorated polar bear cupcakes. We all showed good focus and concentration, as well as developing fine motor skills, as the adults showed us how to use a sieve to sprinkle the icing sugar over our cakes. We especially liked putting the little eyes on our polar bears. During snacktime we got to munch our cakes. Tasty!

We had our first ‘Sensory Train’ session. We climbed aboard the train and set off to Bubble land, Water land, Material land and Foam land. We all engaged at different points of the journey and enjoyed exploring the different sensory experiences.

As part of our PSHE theme ‘This is Me’ we were all supported to clean our teeth and wash our faces.

We used our fine motor skills to grip the toothbrush and put it in our mouths. Some of us had a really good try at looking in the mirror and cleaning our teeth. We all had beautiful, gleaming smiles afterwards! Then we cleaned the germs off some big laminated teeth with different types of brushes.

As part of our P.E. gymnastics lessons we have been trying different ways of moving. This week we have been crawling through tubes, stepping across ladders and jumping over hurdles. We also had time to play some of our favourite action songs and have a good dance.

This week we have continued to explore new experiences, practise new skills, build confidence and enjoy our favourite activities. We are all developing activities that we really enjoy and that we like returning to and building on.

There have been lots of beautiful smiles and special moments and connections with the adults in Dragonflies this week.

Thank you for another special week Dragonflies. Enjoy your weekend and we we see you next week,

Julia, Jo, Gemma, Jodie, Cath and Megan

Happy New Year in Dragonflies!

We have had a wonderful week back at school. Our children have surprised, amazed and made us all very proud this week. They have all tried new experiences and activities, made special connections with the adults and really enjoyed being back at school. Our topic this term is Penguins and Polar Bears and we have been enjoying two new books – Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? and That’s Not My Polar Bear. As an introduction to these icy worlds we all enjoyed an ice lolly and had smashing fun in Bucket Time as Julia freed some animals from an icy world with her hammer! Our PSHE topic this term is ‘This is Me’ and our first area of learning is ‘keeping ourselves clean’. We began by trying hard to wash our hands carefully and wipe our faces with a face cloth.

Sensory fun with ice. How can we free the animals from the iceberg?

Enjoying an ice lolly on what was already a very cold day! It didn’t stop the children, they all really enjoyed them!

We explored different materials as we had our first read of ‘That’s Not My Polar Bear’. We took our time and enjoyed touching the shiny, rough, bumpy, squashy, fluffy and soft materials. We touched some of them to our faces and even listened to the different noises they made when we scrunched them.

We used more sensory materials to make a polar bear face with shaving foam and glitter.

Here we are looking after ourselves and keeping clean.

We then practised our face wiping skills by cleaning shaving foam off laminated faces.

Here we are trying new activities, settling back into routines, discovering new parts of the outdoor playground and enjoying interacting with our teachers.

What a busy week! We even managed to fit in a swimming session. We are all making progress in the water and having lots of fun.

What a busy, happy first week back. We have all really enjoyed being back together. Have a very happy weekend Dragonflies. Happy New Year to our Dragonflies families.

Julia, Jodie, Cath, Jo, Gemma and Megan

Happy Christmas in Dragonflies

There has been lots of Christmas fun in Dragonflies class this week. We have all been busy making Christmas crafts for our families, we really enjoyed having our special people come to join us for the Christmas workshops and we got a special visit from a North Pole friend. We have been listening to lots of Christmas songs and joining in with some festive dances too.

Making yummy reindeer rice crispy cakes.

We all enjoyed welcoming our families into school for our Christmas workshop

A visit from Father Christmas and his little helper! Some of us were very keen to say hello whilst others were not so sure!

Thank you to our Dragonfly families for their support this term. Thank you for our Christmas cards and gifts – it is very kind of you.

We wish you a very Happy Christmas and love and light for the new year. See you in2024,

Julia, Jo, Cath, Gemma, Jodie and Megan

Christmas is coming in Dragonflies class

We have been getting into the Christmas spirit in Dragonflies this week. We have been listening to Christmas music and learning new Christmas songs and dances. In music time with Bev we not only learned about Christmas traditions but the Jewish festival of Hanukkah too.

We all liked listening to the quiet piano music and looking at the twinkling flames of the menorah. Bev bought along her enormous drum again. We played along to Little Drummer Boy. Some of us really loved feeling the vibrations of the drum move through our bodies. We finished our music session by dancing to the Reindeer Pokey which made us laugh.

We have explored different materials and tools as we made our Christmas crafts. We also had some fun with some sensory winter tuff trays.

On Wednesday we had our first Christmas workshop for parents. It was so nice to see our families all together in our classroom. We made biscuits, Christmas decorations and some magic reindeer food ready for Christmas Eve. We also sang some Christmas songs and finished with the Reindeer Pokey dance!

We all went swimming again on Tuesday. All of our Dragonflies enjoy being in the pool. They are growing in confidence and skill as well as enjoying exploring the water toys. Some of us loved moving around the pool on a giant float!

Next week we will continuing the Christmas fun. On Tuesday we have our Christmas party – please remember that children can wear a Christmas jumper or party clothes on this day. Also please send back your child’s plate with some party food. We are hoping that Santa can make an appearance at the party! On Wednesday we have our second parent workshop. We look forward to seeing our families there.

Thank you to our Dragonflies families for your continued support. We hope you are having a lovely weekend. See you next week Dragonflies,

Julia, Cath, Jodie, Jo, Gemma and Megan

Winter in Dragonflies

This week we have begun to explore the season of winter and to begin to think about Christmas! We have our family workshops coming up on the 13th and 20th December and we have begun to learn some special Christmas songs ready for this. We got to go swimming again which made us all very happy. Our confidence and enjoyment of the water is really growing and we all had fun. In music time we began exploring the special festivals of Christmas and Hanukkah. Bev bought in an enormous drum which made an amazing sound. We liked feeling the vibrations of the drum running through our fingers. To reflect the frosty, cold weather we have had, Julia did an exciting bucket time where she smashed some ice. It surprised us all! We then got to explore the chunks of ice, to feel the cold on our fingers and our mouths and to watch it melt in our warm hands. We all made a snowflake for our winter display and have begun to make other Christmas crafts to decorate our classroom with.

Classroom displays including our new Winter board

Christmas crafts using natural materials

Working together to make a Christmas tree and other Christmas crafts

Sensory exploration with ice

That’s what I call a drum!

Swimming fun

We look forward to seeing our Dragonfly families at our Christmas workshops on the 13th and 20th December. Please return the reply slip if you haven’t already.

Have a very happy weekend,

Julia, Jo, Cath, Jodie, Gemma and Megan

Problem solving in Dragonflies

This week we have been supporting the children with lots of fun problem solving activities. The children are all developing in their ability to stay focused on a task for longer periods of time, as well as their hand eye coordination and determination to keep going with an activity even when it gets tricky. It’s been lovely to spend time taking turns with the children and praising them for sharing the toys and resources.

We all really enjoy Attention Autism or ‘bucket time’ and many of the children are able to sit and focus really well on the leading adult at the front of the class. Stage 1 of bucket time involves taking 3 exciting objects from the bucket. This week Julia had a new talking panda and wobbling duck to show us! In stage 2 of bucket time the leading adult performs an interesting action. Julia showed everyone ‘flour sprinkle’ and then counted the shapes left in the flour to reinforce counting up to 3.

During our cooking session this week we had a go at making fruit kebabs. We had to use our fine motor control skills the hold the knife and cut through the soft banana and melon. We then had to push the fruit onto the wooden skewer. It was trickier than it looked! We enjoyed exploring the textures of the fruits and then tasting them.

We didn’t get to go swimming this week but we hope to be back in the water next week. Look out for the letter about our Christmas activity workshops. Finally if you would like your child to appear on the Dragonflies blog then please give your consent to photographs on the arbor app.

See you all next week Dragonflies,

Julia, Cath, Jodie, Jo, Gemma and Megan